Dopamine has many functions in the brain, including important
roles in behavior and cognition, motor
activity, motivation and
reward, regulation of milk production, sleep, mood, attention, and
responses of dopamine neurons are observed when an unexpected reward is
responses transfer to the onset of a conditioned stimulus after repeated
pairings with the reward.
Further, dopamine neurons are depressed
when the expected reward is omitted.
Thus, dopamine neurons seem to
encode the prediction error of rewarding outcomes.
In nature, we learn
to repeat behaviors that maximize rewards.
Dopamine may provide a
teaching signal to parts of the brain responsible for acquiring new
Serotonin is primarily found in
the enteric nervous system located in the gastrointestinal
Approximately 90% of total serotonin in the human body is
located in the enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal system, where it
regulates intestinal movements.
central nervous system
serotonin plays an important role as a neurotransmitter in the regulation of
anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, vomiting,
also produced in the Raphe nuclei located in
Additionally - serotonin stored in blood platelets -
is released during agitation and vasoconstriction where it then acts as an
agonist to other platelets.
As with all neurotransmitters, the effects
of serotonin on the human mood and state of mind, and its role in
consciousness, are very difficult to fully ascertain.
endogenous opioid peptidesThere are three well-characterized families of opioid peptides
produced by the body: enkephalins, endorphins and dynorphins. An enkephalin is
a pentapeptide involved in regulating pain and nociception in the body.
The enkephalins are termed endogenous ligands, or specifically
endorphins, as they are internally derived and bind to the body's opioid
Endorphins resemble the opiates in their abilities to
produce analgesia and a sense of
Endorphins are "natural pain killers."
drugs may increase the effects of the endorphins.
The term "endorphin"
implies a pharmacological activity as opposed to a specific chemical
It consists of two parts: endo- and -orphin; these are
short forms of the words endogenous and opium, intended to mean "a
morphine-like substance originating from within the body."
endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of
exhilaration brought on by pain,
danger, or other forms
of stress due to the influence of endorphins.
Dynorphin is a class of
peptides which has some opiate-like activity.
The dynorphins, which
include dynorphin A, dynorphin B, alpha- and beta-neoendorphin, and big
dynorphin, are all the products of a single gene, 'preprodynorphin'.
Dynorphin functions primarily as a kappa opioid receptor agonist,
meaning that it acts mainly at kappa opioid receptors.
peptides include beta-endorphin, met-enkephalin, leu-enkephalin and
One of the most important features of
neuron synapses is
that they are the site of action for the majority of psychoactive
Neuron synapses are affected by drugs such as
LSD, and countless others.
drugs have different effects on synaptic function, and often are restricted to
neuron synapses that use a specific
Curare is a poison which stops acetylcholine from
depolarising the post-synaptic membrane, causing
Strychnine blocks the inhibitory effects of the
neurotransmitter glycine, which causes the body to pick up and react to weaker
and previously ignored stimuli, resulting in uncontrollable muscle contractions.
Ethanol increases the inhibitory
effects of the neurotransmitter GABA.
Morphine hydrochloride acts on
synapses that use endorphin neurotransmitters.
Cocaine hydrochloride blocks
reuptake of dopamine and therefore increases its effects.
Lysergic acid diethylamide
interferes with synapses that use the neurotransmitter serotonin to cause
Entheogens modulate the serotonin system in
such a way to produce psychedelic alterations in
perception, emotional response, and
These include psilocin,
lysergic acid diethylamide, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine
and 3,4-methylenedioxy-n-ethylamphetamine .
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